Posts Tagged ‘Dartmouth College Library’

In this session, which was co-sponsored by the Library and the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric (IWR), participants explored the the challenges faced by students and faculty when integrating audio, video, images, and text into student research. Karen Gocsik, IWR faculty, shared that a student of hers once wanted to use two YouTube videos in a paper he was writing on house churches in China. The videos he selected were personal videos that appeared to be made by members of the churches, and they showed scenes that contrasted sharply with each other. Karen shared some of the problems these videos presented:

  • How does one understand the content of the videos? How do we sufficiently contextualize them in order to read them accurately?
  • Are the scenes shown in the videos representative of house churches in China, or are they anomalies?
  • How could the student incorporate the clip in his paper, similar to a block quote from a textual source, rather than just citing it as evidence?

The workshop participants contemplated these, and other questions, about incorporating multimodal sources into research papers. During the discussion, we looked at the Journal of e-Media Studies. This  freely available online journal, which is published at Dartmouth, incorporates text, audio, video, and still images in its articles in unique ways. (Example.) Participants discussed the benefits and drawbacks of this type of publication, and the ways these methods might be effective employed in the classroom.

Lastly, in an academic tradition that relies heavily on writing as the means of communication and assessment, do students have the technical and intellectual skills to effectively incorporate multimodal sources in their research? And, likewise, do faculty have the skills to assess them?

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A panel of three librarians presented at this session that was co-hosted by the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric and the Dartmouth College Library: Laura Braunstein, English Language and Literature Librarian, Noah Lowenstein, Physics and Astronomy Librarian, and Fran Oscadal, History and Government Librarian.

Laura, Noah, and Fran each shared experiences they had working with faculty and students on research assignments. The classes they worked with included Writing 5, First Year Seminars, and the History Foreign Study Program. I won’t detail each of their experiences here, but instead will share the common threads to which each attributed their success and comments from the faculty on the benefits of collaborating with librarians.

Tips for successful faculty/librarian collaborations:

  • The earlier you begin working with your librarian, the better your students’ experience (and learning!) will be.  Get in touch with your librarian well in advance of the term, if possible.  This will give the librarian a chance to create support materials (such as a course webpage), to order any books needed that the library does not already own, and for the two of you to collaborate on the design of and librarian support for your assignment(s).
  • Strategically time the librarian’s visit(s) to your class at key points in the assignment.  By aiming for “point of need” instruction, students will be more engaged and will learn more from the session.
  • With your librarian, create diagnostic assignments that will help you both assess what students know and don’t know about library research so you can design a session targeted at their needs.  In Bill Nichols Writing 5 class, Fran attended a session during which the students shared their research interests.  Fran was able to respond in real-time to their ideas, giving suggestions for resources such as Rauner Library, the Planning Office, archives of the D, and more.  Noah created a survey for students in Physics 7 to complete before his first class visit.  The survey asked the students to identify a source type from a citation, to determine if a certain journal article was available in the Library, and to do some scripted catalog searches and reflect on the experience.  Noah used the survey results to design a class session that was much better suited for their needs than a general “library basics” session would have been.

Faculty feedback on collaborations with librarians:

  • By working with a librarian, the students are introduced to both the faculty member’s expertise in her/his own research area and to research tools that cover a broader spectrum of topics and disciplines that are relevant to the students’ work.
  • Librarians help both faculty and students create order from the “messy, unorderly” resources on unfamiliar topics.  It is our job, as librarians, to be aware of and familiar with a broad range of research tools and to act as a “research coach” for you and your students.
  • By working with multiple people (your librarian, a writing assistant, RWIT tutors, etc.) the faculty and students benefit from a team of experts who are engaged with the course and are available to support the students throughout the research and writing processes.

In short, working with a librarian early (and often!) will benefit your students and will result in a successful, collaborative teaching experience for you.

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yeah, it's long -- I didn't have time to make it shorter

Feral Librarian

Research libraries & higher education. Sometimes music, sports, & other stuff.